The parts are ordered and the complete shipment with the new torque tool for the head bearings will be here tomorrow. I find myself disassembling the Vespa in my dreams. One time I do it one way and the other time I try something else. I don’t know about other people but I find dreams are like the perfect simulator. Almost like a flight learning simulator. It’s like that for me at work as well.
So here is how it goes. The book says that you should disconnect all the brakes and brake lines. In my dreams I start to picture these lines and where they start and end. So after a short conversation with Stephanie Yue I began to realize that they are in fact attached to my handle bars at one end and then to the caliper at the other end. I already know that I can remove the handle bars without removing the brake lines and cables so what about the bottom part. Stephanie planted the idea that I could remove the caliper and when the fork is dropped the brakes, caliper, lines and all will stay with the fender while the steering fork should just slide out. Again, I’m trying to picture how to pull the front end up sufficiently so to allow the fork to slide out since I do not have a table or lift.
I imagine a little help at this point may be required. In my dreams I see that someone is lifting the front end and then slightly turning it on an angle sufficient to slide out the fork. Not sure about that part but I certainly will cross it when I get there. Once the fork is out, hub and all, then all of the bearings will be ready to be changed. The lower steering bearings and we can lay down the hub to remove that and change the bearings inside.
The more I dream about it the easier it gets. That’s how I seem to tackle these challenges when my first gut reaction is to bring all the parts and the scooter to Scootart in Montreal. Now that said, if it all does not go back together again, I can see putting the scooter, parts and pieces into a trailer and taking off to Montreal. However, in either instance, I would have tried and learned something. At best how to change all the bearings and at worst, what not to do.
Personally I like to learn about my ride and be confident about all things inside. For example, when Stephanie first dropped her fork at 60,000 miles, this is what she discovered (Click Here to View Stephanie’s Blog about this). But notice how the fork is completely out and the fender remains. In my plan, the caliper and speedo cable will also be hanging off the fender.
Stephanie blames the destroyed bearings on her Baja adventure but it is clear that these should be checked, greased and replaced if necessary periodically. I suppose that ride deterioration happens so gradually that we just don’t notice it until like in Stephanie’s case the steering would squeak. But I am certain that long before that the handling and steering deteriorated but was not noticed. The only way would be to check it or ride a new Vespa to compare handling and ride.
This is the second last maintenance part that I will have to learn. The last will be the valve adjustments which is long over due.
So what is the lesson of the day? Maintenance and understanding the mechanical parts of your ride are important and will help you enjoy the Vespa or motorcycle even more.
Matthew Mcgarvey said:
Steering head bearings on bikes are a pet peeve of mine. Although they may give you a torque figure, that may or may not be “just right” because the difference between wobbly loose and damaging tight is so miniscule. Many manuals say tight the bearing down “firmly”, back off, then go back to “just” tighten, then check for looseness by grabbing the forks, or tightness by moving the steering side to side. This for a critical handling component!
I don’t know why they don’t have the lower triple clamp with a fixed bearing that has to be pressed into the frame, and a bearing that goes over the steering stem that also has to be press fit or which screws firmly into the steering stem section of the frame, which would eliminate all possibility of play. Then bolt your upper triple clamp to that shaft like most modern bikes do anyway. My bicycle crank has that kind of set up; it simply can’t come loose unless you remove the bearing from one side. Maybe the thing would have to be too heavy, or maybe it simply would cost more and mean fewer service trips for dealers to make money from.
There is a bearing store on Kent St. that can replace pretty much any bearing you take in to them; sometimes OEM bearings are not the highest quality.
Peter Sanderson said:
Your right about the quality. Those bearings are the same as from the original Vespa’s in 1949. I think the key is grease every two years. You are right about tightening. I will tighten the top ones to spec and check the movement. The bottom ones are captive and do not require torque. Now the wheel hub is a different unknown story. I have never opened a hub before. Stay tuned.